BRUSSELS, May 26 (UPI) -- A European Commission spokeswoman said there was no top level discussion about Greece bowing out from its membership in the eurozone.
"There is no discussion at the commission or the eurogroup to contemplate what I do not even want to mention because it would dignify speculation," said spokeswoman Amelia Torres, the EUobserver reported Thursday.
Speculation on a Greek exit from the euro began after Greek Commissioner Maria Damanaki said in a speech that such an option was "on the table."
"The scenario of Greece being distanced from the euro is now on the table, as are ways to do this. I am obliged to speak openly. We have a historic responsibility to see the dilemma clearly," Damanaki said.
Torres described the remarks as "a figure of speech."
"You have to see the comments of Maria Damanaki as intended to convince her countrymen and countrywomen of the necessity of pushing ahead with reforms to increase the competitiveness of the country and budgetary consolidation to put public finances on more sure footing," Torres said.
Greece's financial struggles have dragged on the euro for more than a year. The government in Athens this week passed a new round of austerity budget measures, but speculation persists Greece will need to restructure its $155 billion European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout loan.
This week, Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claud Juncker said IMF rules could prevent Greece from receiving its next loan installment, because the total aid package was not large enough to get Greece through the next 12 months.
The terms of the loan include a pledge from Greece to raise $38 billion through the bond market in 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported.
IMF economist Olivier Blanchard said it was unlikely Greece would be able meet that goal, the Journal said.